UNFRIENDLY FIRE AS T.A. BALES OUT!
Three hundred bales burst into flames when a flare whooshed into a Scots farm.
It took five fire crews to control the crackling inferno - and most of the vital store was lost.
Now embarrassed Army chiefs have agreed to cough up compensation for the gaffe on midnight manoeuvres.
Farm manager David Petrie told the Sunday Mail: "Their exercise was called Deep Gorge.
"It was well named. They sure left a deep gorge in our pockets ... and on our land!"
TA men and regulars from the Scottish Yeomanry Regiment were on a reconnaissance patrol near Crail, Fife, when disaster struck.
They set off a flare so they could see the terrain more clearly.
But a gust of wind caught the arcing torch and blew it on course for the bales.
An Army spokesman described the blaze as an "unfortunate accident".
He said: "When the men realised what had happened, the police were called and soldiers tried to remove some of the bales which were not alight.
"But the fire spread quickly and they were unable to do anything to stop it.
"We have apologised to the farmer and arrangements will be made for him to be compensated for the damage."
The bungle is the latest in a string of incidents which have thrown the TA off guard.
Last month, soldiers linked to the Glasgow-based 71 Engineer Regiment were given a rocket when 16 sheep were found shot dead after target practice in the Borders.
They were ordered to pay pounds 900 compensation to farmers.
One said: "They were supposed to be aiming at paper targets. But it seems live ones were more appealing."
Earlier this year, a Scots officer sparked a probe by using a military helicopter to fly to a golf tournament in Prestwick - after sending his clubs on ahead in a chauffeur-driven car.
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|Publication:||Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Sep 28, 1997|
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